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Success Story: Vanessa Giovannini

To finish this week on a high note, we have an interview with Vanessa Giovannini, currently working at Improbable as 3D Artist.

What course did you study?

I studied the postgraduate MA Game Art course (full-time)

What are you working on at the moment?

After I completed my course at Escape I was hired as a Graduate 3D Artist at Improbable, where I build in-game content for Improbable’s game projects, ranging from prototype assets right through to finished, shippable artwork.

What work are you most proud of working on and was/is your most notable achievement?

I think the work I’m most proud of which I also consider my most notable achievement is my final MA project titled “The Artists Bedroom”. It’s a culmination of everything I learned in the year I spent at Escape Studios. This environment also has the most props I’ve ever modelled and textured compared to my previous pieces. I wanted to push myself to see what I can achieve, and I’m very happy and proud of myself with the final result!

If you had to sum up your time at Escape Studios in one word, what would it be and why?

Fulfilling!

To get to the role I wanted I felt I needed to learn more. About software, pipelines, and techniques used in the games industry, and Escape Studios teaches all this. Thanks to the tutors and classmates who helped me and all the topics that were explored, I came out of the course confident that I had the desired skills. It was so fun to work on my projects too and allow my creativity to take over – it’s such a great feeling to see your finished game environment.

What lessons have you learnt during your time studying and your time working in Games?

One of the most important things I’ve learnt is: don’t be afraid to ask questions and to ask for feedback. I’ve been surrounded by so many talented people, and I’ve learned an insane amount by just asking. Sometimes you need a perspective that is not your own and your team will appreciate it when you offer feedback to them too.

Also, I think it’s good not to get too stuck on an initial idea. It’s great to have an overall vision, but I find it helpful to allow it to change as development goes on. One great part of this course, and of my job, is how an idea starts off and how it ends through experimentation and feedback that’ll shape it. It’s an interesting creative journey and it’s really cool to see where an idea can end up.

Similar to my previous point, I found that always staying in my comfort zone didn’t benefit me. I am good at 3D modelling in Maya for example, but I wanted to branch out and focus on other areas too, such as lighting, UV’s, foliage, level design, etc. By dedicating time to learning various areas of game art more in-depth, it expanded my skill set and helped improve the overall quality of my final props and environments. I still do this and it definitely helps me create better work.

What is your advice for those considering entering the industry?

Your portfolio is your number one most important asset when you are applying for jobs in games. So if you notice something that you can make even better or correct, whether it’s a thumbnail or a prop in a piece of work – do it! Going the extra mile makes a great impression while also making your portfolio even stronger.

I’ve mentioned this before, but another piece of advice is to appreciate constructive criticism and be open to feedback. Giving and receiving feedback is very important when you work and it’ll help you improve, so welcome it.

And finally, never stop learning and practicing!

What’s your favourite game and why?

I grew up playing Super Mario Sunshine, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and Mario Kart: Double Dash on the Nintendo Gamecube and I consider them all to be my favourite games.

But if I had to pick one all-time favourite, it would probably be The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. It’s everything I love about the Zelda franchise into one game and I could re-play it several times (currently on my third play-through). The colourful art, the interesting characters, the fun environments and the beautiful music are only a few reasons why I like it so much. 

Thanks to Improbable and Vanessa for the interview.

More about Improbable:

https://www.improbable.io/

Vanessa’s Artstation:

https://www.artstation.com/vanessagio

Games Art Tutor for the MA at Escape Studios. I have been teaching new creative talent for the past 10+ years, working worldwide at places including Alpha Channel and the University of Hertfordshire. I've also wrote numerous published books about Unreal Engine including; UDK Basics, Level Design and Documentation and UDK Games scenarios integration as well creating game assets for the next generation consoles such as the racing game ‘Pacer’.

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